Too few businesses are taking advantage of the untapped possibilities of integrating beacon technology into their apps to increase personalization and the chances of closing a sale ten-fold using proximity marketing vs traditional marketing channels.
While the beacon technology revenue was 1.18 billion US dollars in 2018, it’s estimated to reach a 10.2 billion US dollars market by 2024.
If you have a marketing or retail-oriented business, you should consider how app beacon technology can benefit your business.
Mall stores, restaurants, hotels, and airports are some of the businesses that can use beacons to increase impulse purchases, visits, and revisits by marketing directly to potential customers in close proximity via their apps.
But before we look at how businesses can use this technology to increase sales, let’s define what beacon technology is.
Beacons are wireless transmitters that can send advertising data and notifications to apps on smartphones within the range of a beacon. iBeacon was introduced by Apple on their iPhones in 2013 and Android-powered mobile phones followed the lead with Google releasing EddyStone in 2015.
While Eddystone is only partly supported on Android as of now, there are open source libraries that fully support app beacon technology on Android, making the whole gamut of Android and iOS users marketable.
For beacons to work, they need to communicate with a receiver (smartphone) and an app specifically developed to understand and handle incoming beacons. The app reads a unique identifier on the smartphone that is paired with the beacon for a customized message to appear.
iPhones have beacon technology embedded in the hardware, so mobile apps do not have to be active to communicate. On Android-powered platforms, applications must be running on the phone to receive beacon signals, at least as a background process.
Some retailers with beacon-enabled apps are CVS, McDonald’s, Subway, KFC, Kroger, Uber, and Disney World.
How Can App Beacon Technology Be Used For Marketing?
The biggest advantage of app beacon technology is the opportunity to send personalized offers and messages to customers already in close proximity. But there’s also the analytics aspect used to gain detailed customer insights on shopper behavior to maximize the effectiveness of the marketing strategy.
Example 1: Send Location-Based App Offers To The Parking Lot
Marketing can be pinpoint customized since the beacon can detect the app and knows the customer is in close proximity, therefore making it highly relevant and convenient to visit the store.
Once a potential customer with an app installed for a specific store in proximity pulls into the parking lot, they can receive a notification of a specific discount only good for today and with a personal greeting attached.
By doing this, the store has just created 1) a welcoming feeling coupled with 2) urgency of a special offer only good for 3) a limited time. These are the ABCs of purchase conversions and beacon technology just hit all three points without human intervention or extra cost. At the same time, the chance of a purchase conversion went up significantly.
Target is one of the retail stores using beacon technology coupled with the Target app to push notifications to their customers across the country. Customers will only receive up to 2 notifications per trip as not to overdo the messaging and risking app abandonment. The notifications shoppers will receive are special offers and items trending on social media for buyer inspiration.
Example 2: Get Insights On In-Store Shopping Behavior
It’s long been known that it matters where you put the products in a store, such as placing candy right at the eye level of kids by the registers, giving kids ample time to beg for a candy purchase.
With app beacon technology the insights have been turned up to 11. Retailers can now track user behavior and get a precise map of each customer’s journey through the store, with information on where they stop, what is purchased, and what time of the day they shop.
The information can be used to move inventory to optimize the selling experience. More popular items are displayed on popular paths.
Add a store map to the app and the chance of a customer finding more items to purchase are bigger.
Hardware store Lowes incorporated a mobile shopper platform into Lowe’s mobile app to improve customer experience. The customer can search for a product and immediately see inventory availability as well as the item’s location on the store map.
An added bonus of including beacons in apps is that it increases the number of app users, the chance of online sales, and overall brand engagement.
Example 3: Advanced Customer Personalization
Ecommerce businesses are already offering deeply personalized shopping experiences. They can do this based on the advanced tracking that is deployed across the internet. You don’t have to be a shopper on Target for Target to know what you like. They can buy this information from Facebook and many other services.
For brick-and-mortar businesses, this can be more difficult to implement. While they have sales associates that can listen and navigate to purchase, they are only aware of what they are told by the customer.
With app beacon technology, the brick-and-mortar stores are suddenly able to tap into the powerful data sets of tracking and analytics so far only used by ecommerce.
With beacons and apps communicating, the customer can receive personalized offers, coupons, and product recommendations based on previous shopping habits.
Adding location tracking within the store can let the app know exactly where the customer is and apply recommendations and offers based on that.
Imagine a shopper browsing in the clothing section. When they walk into the jeans department, they receive a push notification with a 25% off coupon good for that shopping trip to purchase a pair of pants. Or maybe they recommended a specific brand on sale today, based on previous purchases.
Beacon Implementation Is A Low-Cost Marketing Technology Investment
As we mentioned in the beginning of the article, beacon technology is dependent on a transmitter (beacon), receiver (smartphone) and software (app).
The transmitting beacon is not an expensive purchase. There are numerous manufacturers of beacons, such as Aruba, Beaconstac, Estimote, Gimbal, and Radius Network. The cost depends on the beacon signal range, battery life, and more with an average 18-pack of long-range beacon from Beaconstac averaging $38 per beacon.
The receiver (smartphone) is the most expensive part of the process, but fortunately for retailers that expense is already covered by their customers owning mobile phones. The latest numbers show 270 million smartphone users in the United States, worldwide that number is close to 6.4 billion, so the market is saturated.
The cost of including beacon technology in an app is only a small amount of the app development costs, so you are not going to break the bank by including the advantages in your app.
If you would like to experience a boost in your sales numbers, we suggest looking more into the opportunities app-enabled beacon technology offers retail business.
The technology is fairly inexpensive with the potential of a huge payoff. You just have to come up with a marketing plan to entice your shoppers with great offers and targeting their customer behavior and you’ll also be in the exclusive club of app enabled beacon retailers.